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Great game of power and pelf
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May 20, 2011
The Defence Committee of the Cabinet – Pakistan’s highest representative forum on defence matters – has been tough on criticising the US for its unilateral action of May 2, in utter disregard to the sovereignty of a State which happens to be its front-line partner state in the US-led war on terror and has suffered unprecedented losses, both in men and material. But it appears that under the ‘intoxication of power’ being the sole super, the US leaders care a fig about the sanctity of borders or sovereignty of any State, including its allies, and are prepared to launch pre-emptive strikes against any State while keeping charging at windmills!
In Mexico, the government of President Felipe Calderon and his war against organised crime has consumed 40,000 lives in crimes committed in a country where human rights have never been respected and vast areas remain under a non-declared siege, patrolled round-the-clock by police and military.

Fed-up with President Calderon’s failed war against organised crime, thousands of Mexicans held a protest march in the capital – Mexico City – on May 8, 2011, demanding an end to the ‘war on drug trafficking.’ The Mexicans held similar protest demonstrations in many other towns and cities of Mexico on the call of a popular poet, Javier Sicilia. By faith, a Christian committed to nationalist issues and causes, Sicilia has won many literary prizes. After brutal murder of her son in Cuernavaca, Sicilia has succeeded in mobilising thousands of people, who viewed President Calderon’s war on drugs as an absurd war.

Calderon was installed in office as President, in December 2006, amid allegations of election rigging and fraud. With a view to strengthening his weak political position due to controversial elections, Calderon looked towards the army and entangled it into politics. Since then, some 40,000 unarmed civilians have been killed, not in clashes between State sleuths and drug mafia, but in human rights violations. The recent protests by the people also enjoyed the support of the country’s Catholic Church. To express their sense of frustration with the government, the marchers adopted silence as their furious weapon, citing Ivan Illich’s saying: “He who keeps silent is ungovernable.”

Though brute State force has terminated 40,000 lives, the US, by and large, remains oblivious to what was happening in one of its former colonies and a neighbouring Christian country, Mexico. However, when it comes to global domination or increasing influence in strategically located resource-rich countries of the world, America spontaneously jumps into the arena to reap windfall profits despite some failures during the Korean War (1950-53), the Viet Nam War (1955-75), the Iran hostage crisis (1979) and Somalia’s internecine warfare (1992).


To cite a few instances: In the closing years of the nineteenth century, the US went to war with Spain, crushing it and wrenching control of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines from the Spaniards. It also annexed Hawaii in 1898. Thereafter, it locked horns with a few Latin American countries and occupied, Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama and Dominican Republic.

The US also meddled during the 1917-1919 Russian Revolution and the 1948 Chinese Revolution. To compel the surrender of its enemy, the US earned the notoriety of becoming the first country on the globe to drop its deadly atom bombs at human settlements by firing these weapons of mass destruction on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, the US has a long history of pre-emptive strikes against its opponents, using most deadly weapons in its arsenal.

In 1983, the US forces landed in Beirut and bombed the local militia and, in 1989, they intervened in Panama to oust the ruling General Manuel Noriega and capture him. During 1990-91, the US-led coalition forces took part in the Gulf (Middle East) War against Iraq, after Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait. The coalition troops pushed Iraq out of Kuwait and recorded a thumping victory over Saddam. During the 1990s, the US jumped into the Yugoslavian War by bombing the country. In 1992, the US troops landed in Somalia, but after a heavy initial loss, they had to withdraw. In 2002, the US despatched some 2,000 troops to help the Philippines to uproot a few groups of militants, besides sending its men to Iraq in 2003 to hunt down Saddam Hussein.

At the beginning of the current year, the US intervened in Tunisia and Egypt, and later also Libya to turn a spontaneous Arab movement for reform – Arab Spring – into a Great Game of power and pelf. They say, ‘Once bitten twice shy.’ But, the proverb, it seems, no longer holds good in the case of Arabs who have been repeatedly betrayed by the West. Reposing their trust in the solemn promises made by the major European powers, the Arabs had revolted against the Ottomans. What was the outcome? They ended up with British and French mandates and eventually with Naqba – impelled expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians from the land they had lived in for millennia and the creation of Israel State.

The recent intervention of the US and its western allies in Libya has, once again, revealed the true agenda and the imperialistic intentions of Uncle Sam and its western partners: Obsession to control Libyan oil resources and gain strategic control over the country in the Mediterranean and African context. That explains the main reason for instant support for the Libyan ‘street power’ from France and Britain and the massive use of US air power in the aid of the protesters. But the replacement of an autocratic regime with a new pro-West ruling elite is unlikely to be acceptable to the people and that could plunge the oil-rich country into a long period of unrest, thereby providing a good pretext for the US and NATO troops to remain in the area and keep supporting their proxies and surrogate regimes in the region.

Since 2001, the US-led NATO troops are engaged in Afghanistan with effects being felt in Pakistan on a daily basis. Recently, the global community saw the US forces transgressing into the Pakistani territory, on May 2, at will, and killing al-Qaeda mentor Osama bin Laden (OBL) in front of his children and wives. What an act of bravery? The Americans need to feel proud of the US Navy seals for killing a 54-year old unarmed man on the pretext and possibility of his “retaliation!” But a majority of the global community considers it a gruesome murder, arguing ‘how can an unarmed man retaliate against a group of well-trained commandos, equipped to the teeth with sophisticated weapons?

Instead of shooting, had the US navy commandos captured OBL alive, they could have extracted useful information from him about al-Qaeda and smashed the network? If under-custody, OBL was shown alive on the TV, it would have obliterated the chances about the spread of fancy stories now making round about the real identity of the person killed in the Abbottabad operation, simply to improve upon popularity ratings for the 2012 US elections!

After ‘Operation Geronimo,’ though the US has made some small reconciliatory gestures towards Pakistan, it has remained largely unrepentant, as can be vouched from statements being issued by some top members of the US establishment, Congressmen and government leaders, who have repeatedly proclaimed to launch similar operations if they get actionable information about the presence of al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet – Pakistan’s highest representative forum on defence matters – has been tough on criticising the US for its unilateral action of May 2, in utter disregard to the sovereignty of a State which happens to be its front-line partner state in the US-led war on terror and has suffered unprecedented losses, both in men and material. But it appears that under the ‘intoxication of power’ being the sole super, the US leaders care a fig about the sanctity of borders or sovereignty of any State, including its allies, and are prepared to launch pre-emptive strikes against any State while keeping charging at windmills!

Given the situation, a vast majority of Pakistanis want Islamabad to reassert its own position with Washington, and abandon a relationship that is based largely on obeying US orders. They say, with a begging bowl in one hand and honour in the other, we simply look like stooges. Furthermore, Pakistanis want their leaders not to ignore what has happened and set up a commission to look into the sequence of May 2 events and to make recommendations about remedial steps that may reinforce the country’s sovereignty and help in redeeming the country’s image.


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